By Francisco Salazar
Unbeaten world champion Timothy Bradley has heard it all too often before a major fight.
“Fighters love to speak their mind on how they’re going to beat me.”
So when he heard Devon Alexander, whom he will face at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI, on Saturday night, state that he will be victorious and be the best fighter at 140 pounds, Bradley could not help but retort.
“I’m better than him. Simple as that.”
In an intriguing bout that pits two of the best young 140-pound champions today, Bradley and Alexander will duke it out for 12 rounds, with each fighter’s world title belt on the line. The bout will be shown on HBO’s “World Championship Boxing.”
In his last three fights, Bradley fought before his hometown fans in the Southern California desert, not far from his hometown of Palm Springs, CA. His most recent victory was in July, a 12 round unanimous decision over previously-unbeaten Luis Carlos Abregu.
The victory marked Bradley’s first significant bout at the Welterweight limit, hoping to secure a bout with Manny Pacquiao. Soon after, Bradley decided to drop back down to 140 pounds and capture all the world title belts in the division.
As in previous preparations for major bouts, Bradley (26-0 1 NC, 11 KO’s) enjoyed the eight weeks of sparring he received at the Boys and Girls Club in nearby Indio.
“I’m just blessed that I received great sparring for this fight,” said Bradley to Fightnews.com in recent days. “I had great sparring with Terrance Crawford, Mookie (Cleotis Pendarvis), others. It was great to see that fighters were offering their assistance to help me prepare for January 29th.”
As January 29th closes in, there has been a tremendous buzz for this fight by fight fans and members of the media. Also, the fight was proposed less than two years ago, when Bradley held the world title belt that Alexander currently has around his waist.
Both fighters will bring into the ring on Saturday night their exciting fighting styles that could make this bout an early candidate for fight of the year.
Bradley agrees with that assessment.
“This is a great fight with exciting styles. We’re both undefeated. We’re both champions. We don’t want to lose and we don’t know how to lose. We both have elements in our game to change the fight at any time. Lots of leather will be thrown.”
At 27, Bradley is in the prime of his career. He has been in exciting bouts against top-level competition in Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson, and a Nate Campbell that had won bouts against Juan Diaz and Ali Funeka.
Some of those bouts have seen him get into trouble, as in the 12 round unanimous decision victory over Holt, despite being knocked down twice in the bout.
Bradley has learned a great deal in those fights and plans on executing a solid game plan against Alexander.
“I have to be more poised on the attack and not rush in as much as before. Devon is a young, great fighter, but I have to show that I’m the better all-around fighter on Saturday night.”
“My experience in big fights will help me out. If he tries something, I think it won’t be anything I haven’t seen before. I’m a veteran. The tricks he may try are not going to work with me. Fighting 27-28 times (as a professional) against fighters who think that they can get one on me. They’ve tried and failed.”
Bradley’s goal to unify all of the title belts at 140 pounds is something he hopes to accomplish before making the jump to 147 pounds.
In his sights has been the two best fighters pound-for-pound today in Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Bradley called out Pacquiao in a television interview after the Abregu fight, but is realistic that a fight probably will not materialize anytime soon.
“I’ve lived by the adage of ‘to be the best, you have to fight the best.’ I love competition. I don’t look for the easy fights. I want the fights where there is a high risk, but a high reward.”
“I would love to fight Pacman. They know that I’m ready to go for a fight against Pacman or Floyd. But at the same time, I’m not looking past this fight against Devon. I just want to fight the best at 140 pounds. I want to beat them all and take all the belts.”
Bradley, a known gym rat, takes his training regimen to a different level prior to a major fight. As he prepares himself physically, he prides himself in being prepared mentally. With his connection to God, the will for him to remain unbeaten after January 29th is stronger than ever.
Since making his professional debut with a second round stoppage over Francisco Martinez almost six and a half years ago, Bradley amazes himself as to all that he has accomplished in his life. A victory over Alexander on Saturday night will further add more sentiments, memories, and belts to his collection.
“I can’t believe at times what I’ve accomplished in my career. It’s been a blessing for God-given talents and having Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson by my side. I’m going to take this home on Saturday night.”
“Just keep this in mind: On January 29th, I will remain undefeated.”